Matthew 24:1-51 (Part 6) – Don’t Be Gettin’ Ready; Be Ready!

Posted: March 21, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 24:1-51 (Part 6)

Jesus Teaches About Being Watchful for His Return

I know that you have heard me talk often about what I call God’s Synchronicity, as I like to call it. To me, this is when I hear the same message from God from multiple different sources – from people I know, Bible passages I read, from sermons I hear, and so on – in a short span of time. When I hear that message loud and clear from multiple sources in a short period of time, I know that God is trying to impress a message upon me and it something that He really wants me to take to heart. In the last two weeks, the sermons at church have been about the urgency of our task as Christians. We cannot waste time following our calling from Christ and we cannot put off sharing the gospel. This week in the Greenville-Spartanburg are we have gotten two reminders as well. There was the death of a 11 year old middle school student right here in our immediate are of Spartanburg County that has deeply affected our Duncan-Lyman-Wellford group of small suburban towns between Greenville and Spartanburg. And then there was the death of the Greenville City policeman earlier this week who was shot multiple times by a suspect upon whom the officer was trying to serve a warrant. Then for the past week, I have been studying this chapter of Matthew (Matthew 24) about Jesus teaching us about the end times. All of it has one central theme. We must be ready for the end. We must be ready whether it’s our own physical death or when Jesus returns in His glory in the eastern sky to wrap up things on earth at the end of the age. The mother of the 11 year old boy yesterday at her son’s funeral said best, I think, when she said, “Don’t be gettin’ ready! Be ready!” Let us read vv. 36-44 from Matthew 24 today:

 

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

 

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

 

Jesus was responding throughout Matthew 24 to the question made by the disciples of what the signs or signals of the end of time would be. As we approach the end of this chapter, Jesus is telling the disciples that only the Father knows the time and the hour of the end of time. He says too that many will ignore the signs of the time right up until the end just as they did in Noah’s day. He said that people, then, continued in their wickedness right up until the floods came and washed them away. At the end of time, it will be the same. There will be those who do not think the end is coming because they only believe what they can see right in front of them. There will be those who do not care – those who want to go on living godless lives and do not want to change. There will be those who think that there will always be more time in the future to get right with God. When the end does come, Jesus said, there will be those who are taken home and those who will be left behind to suffer their judgment. The end will come suddenly and when we least expect it. We must be ready. As Devarious’ mom said at her son’s funeral yesterday, “Don’t be getting ready! Be ready!”

That is the message that is loud and clear from this past week. The day and the hour is unknown. There is no time to waste. Putting off to tomorrow is not an option. Leaving the job to your preacher or to someone else is not an option. Time is fleeting and we only get one crack at this life. We think we have an eternity in this life but we do not. This is not eternity. Life is fleeting and it is a vapor in the wind. Here today and gone tomorrow. We cannot put off getting right with God and, as Christ followers, we cannot put off sharing the gospel. Devarious’ mom in her grief said it best and in the simplest of terms, “Don’t be getting’ ready! Be ready!” The cross is an urgent matter. It is not something to put off til tomorrow. Today is the “one day!” Today is that one day in the future that you must come to terms with Jesus Christ. Today is the one day that you share the gospel with someone who needs to hear it.

 

Why is it so urgent? It just is. We think we have a lifetime to deal with Jesus Christ. I will come to Jesus when I have had time to live my life and work out all the kinks in my life. I will deal with Jesus later. We think we will have 80 plus years of life to deal with Jesus. Guess what? You may well have those 80 plus years but at the same token you may not. A Greenville, SC city cop, a father of two young boys and a husband to a wife that was carrying his yet unborn and third child, woke up earlier this week not knowing that he would not make it home that night. He last shift has ended with the multiple bullets that ended his life. He was 28 years old. A day later, a family discovers their child unconscious and near death and rush him to the hospital where he dies at 11 years old. We do not wake up thinking this day will be our last. But maybe we should. As we said in our small group last night, “It’s never too late until it’s too late.” We are not guaranteed any specific amount of time on this side of eternity, but we are guaranteed that eternity is a mighty long time. What choice we make about Jesus on this side of eternity which is very fleeting will determine where we spend eternity, which is a very long time. On this side of eternity, we do not have forever. There is urgency. We must come to terms with Jesus and it’s never too late until it’s too late. We may live our lives like Jesus is just an option and we can deal with that option later. However, there is urgency my friends. Your end may come today after you walk out that door to enter this new work week. We do not know the time, place, day or manner in which we will die. Only the Father knows. Don’t waste time. Deal with Jesus now! He is ready for you to accept Him as your Savior. Your life does not end when you meet Jesus, it is just beginning. And it’s never too late until it’s too late. There will be a day that you don’t know when…when your eternity stares you in the face. It may be today. Don’t be gettin’ ready. Be ready.

 

As for those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior, we need to have just as much urgency about spreading the gospel. Some of us put off sharing the gospel to another day. We can witness to our neighbor, co-worker, family member or friend tomorrow just not today. It makes me uncomfortable to witness to others so I will do it tomorrow. What are we waiting for? God chooses to use us as conduits for His Word and His love to reach the unreached. We have a job to do to share the gospel. We all know one person in our spheres of influence who are not saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. What are we waiting on? We act like we have 80 plus years to witness to our friends, co-workers and family members who are not saved. We act like they have an eternity on this side of eternity. This past week in our part of the world has proven that this fact is not true. Our family member, our co-worker, our friend who we know is not saved may die today and face their eternity today. Yet, we are unable to witness? Cause we are uncomfortable? Their eternity is at stake. They will be like the people in Noah’s day thinking they had time right up until it was too late. It’s never too late until it’s too late. Let us be bold and let us be urgent. Share the gospel even if it makes you and me uncomfortable. As witnesses for Christ, we can’t be gettin’ ready. We need to be ready. We need to have urgency. We need to care so deeply about someone’s eternity that we cut through their objections and let the Holy Spirit lead us as we speak the gospel. Let’s be urgent. Let’s act like there is no tomorrow because it is not guaranteed to any of us. Don’t get gettin’ ready to witness. Be ready to witness!

Amen and Amen.

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